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Cholera—a curable, preventable disease that had not existed in Haiti in over a century—emerged following the 2010 earthquake and ran rampant throughout the country. Since the outbreak, cholera patients have been treated in temporary tents, which are difficult to keep sanitary, hot in the Haitian climate, and deficient at ensuring prevention from infection and the human right to dignified health care. In partnership with leading Haitian health care provider Les Centres GHESKIO, MASS is not only building a state-of-the-art permanent cholera treatment center, but also incorporating an on-site wastewater treatment facility to thwart recontamination of the water table and consequent spread of the disease. The first permanent cholera treatment center in Haiti, the facility’s facade is made by local Haitian metalworkers, and is custom-designed to provide appropriate daylighting and ventilation throughout the facility. MASS continues to collaborate with local craftsmen to produce furniture to outfit the facility, tailored to the needs of cholera patients.
Nearing completion, the cholera treatment center will serve a catchment area of 60,000 Haitians—most of whom reside in a neighboring informal settlement—and treat up to 250,000 gallons of wastewater annually. However, authorities have documented over 736,000 cases since the initial outbreak (as of 05/2015), unveiling an undeniably stark need for health facilities and public health infrastructure throughout the region. To address this need, MASS continues to explore interventions and methods to scale alternatives to safe water and sanitation infrastructure to stem this outbreak and thwart future incidence of diarrheal disease.